Volunteers of the Month: Paul & Brian

paul brian 1The Bike Exchange is increasingly attracting families to our program. Oftentimes, there are mothers and fathers bringing their children in to learn about bikes and how to fix them. Some of these kids are already pretty good mechanics and really get into fixing up the bikes. Such was the case this Wednesday when Paul L. and his son Brian volunteered in the shop.

Paul is a local boy, having grown up in San Francisco before attending St. Ignatius high school and SF State. He is retired now after a career in sales, during which he worked for Xerox and later for Tiffany and Co. These days he volunteers with St. Vincent De Paul’s and is about to celebrate his 50th anniversary.

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Person of the Month: Katie L.

KatieLSVBE folks and especially all you Googlers out there, welcome the newest kid on the playground, Katie L. A native of the Lone Star State, Katie was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. During her first 18 years, Katie stayed busy by playing soccer and earning a brown belt in karate. Then it was off to the Big Apple, New York City, where she undoubtedly saw and did things she would never have imagined back home. She attended Kings College there, studying Business Management.

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Volunteer of the Month: Carolina L

carolinaI love my job, especially when I get to interview someone as engaging as Carolina L. She is the latest addition to our Wednesday crew.  

Carolina has done some traveling. Her father is an engineer and has moved with his family for work a few times. Born in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, she moved to Seattle when she was two, then three years later to Florida. At age six the family moved back to Brazil to the tiny hamlet of Belo Horizonte (population 2.5 million, 6th largest city in Brazil.) Three years later it was on to São Paulo, and then finally to Mountain View where she is a high school student and hopes to stick around a while. 

Carolina loves to surf. Her favorite place for catching waves is Steamer Lane in Santa Cruz. She also loves riding her bike. She rides to school, to piano lessons, and on the Shoreline trails. At the bike shop, I spent time mentoring her and could see that she is definitely into the mechanical stuff. She intends to be a regular member of the crew. Asked what her plans are for the future, she says she wants to get a broad education and then see what happens. That sounds like a great game plan to this old jack-of-all-trades. 

Person of the Month: Andrew Yee

SVBE welcomes its General Manager, Andrew Yee

Father, husband, engineer, businessman, certified bike nut?

Take your pick, he is all of the above and as of now, he is the new General Manager for the Silicon Valley  Bicycle Exchange. I had the opportunity to sit down with him today and dig into what makes him tick and how he is going to assist us in making our program even more successful. 

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Persons of the Month: Nikolay and Kostya

Nikolay KostyaOn September 7th the Bike Exchange had its semi Annual Bike sale. I have never seen so many people intent on buying a bike from us. We had a line 6-8 deep waiting to hand us money practically from the time we opened. I guess the word has gotten out that there are some fantastic deals to be had. All true!

As I tried to do my best Ralph Sport Sport (of Sport Sport Motors) imitation, a big bear of a man introduced himself to me. Nikolay and his son Kostya are originally from Moscow. They moved here to the states when Kostya was three and now live in Palo Alto. Kostya is in the 5th grade at Baron Park Elementary school.  

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Volunteer of the Month: Nilay

nilayThe bike Exchange is getting to be a world-class organization, attracting folks from far and wide. In far-off India in the city of Kolkata, Nilay M was born. Little did he know at the time that his family would move halfway around the world and he would find himself in Palo Alto California, but since the 7th grade, this has been his home. 

Nilay currently attends Gunn High School. His favorite subject is automotive technology, where he has been engaged in real hands-on learning. His class acquired a Mazda RX7 race car with a blown engine and somehow managed to shoehorn a Ford Mustang 4-liter v8 engine into it and make it work. Amazing! 

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Volunteer of the Month: Lauren Z

laurenz1Wednesday is becoming the new Saturday at the Bike Exchange.

Last week I arrived at 11 am and almost every station was occupied. Old friends and new faces and everybody swaying to jazz on the sound system.  Looking around for a victim, I realized that I had never interviewed Lauren Z, so let’s meet her.

Lauren was born in Chicago. Her Engineer father and legal Secretary mother had the good sense to move to Denver soon afterward.  Lauren loved everything about Denver (except the snow) and thrived.  An athlete, she played volleyball and soccer and was good enough to get a volleyball scholarship to prestigious Rice University. Once there she soon realized that her academic studies in Chemical Engineering had to take precedence.

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Volunteer of the Month: Harry C

harry cHarry hails from Nottingham England, and assures me he is no relation to the evil Sheriff of Robin Hood fame.
  
Back in Blighty his father always biked to work as did so many of his generation. For his part, Harry rode his bike to classes at the University of Southampton, where he studied to be a software engineer like his dad.

He has been in the states for 3 1/2 years, landing a job at our favorite Mega Corp., the big G, where he hooked up with fellow Googlers who volunteer at the Bike Exchange. 

Harry is active in his church and also enjoys fencing. If the poor peasants of Nottingham shire ever need a champion, he’ll be ready to head to Sherwood Forest and get the gang back together.

Volunteer of the Month: Ahmed

ahmed smlAhmed has been volunteering at the Bicycle Exchange for about three months. He likes to fix road bikes (like what he rides) and kids bikes. His goal is to become proficient in fixing his kids' bikes. Right now he is honing his skills on adjusting derailleurs and likes to get a bike indexing just right.

Ahmed was born in Somalia but grew up here in Silicon Valley. When not volunteering, he likes to spend time with his young children at museums, the zoo, or parks. His favorite place visited was London because of the deep history, the castles, and the culture. He loved the multi-cultural food available and the museums. He also enjoyed a Shakespeare play at the Globe Theater. Ahmed recommends a local Somali restaurant - Jubba in San Jose.

Volunteer of the Month: Jack G

jackgThe Bike Exchange has expanded a lot recently. Today I am talking to one of the folks who work here during our new Wednesday hours.

Jack is one of that rarest of breeds, a native San Fransiscan. Jack grew up locally and was always liked mechanical stuff, especially bikes. He attended Menlo Atherton High, then 2 years of junior college before transferring to Chico State where he got a BS in Physical Sciences. His first job out of college was with Perkins Elmer (he didn’t work on the Space telescope mirror). Then it was on to Varian in Palo Alto where he worked on Sputtering (plasma coating).

He has been a hard core mountain biker for years. He loves to ride his Santa Cruz Blur on the open space trails off highway 35 in the Santa Cruz mountains. Deciding he wanted to do something for others after retiring, he did an internet search and found the Bike exchange. He hooked up with Jack and now is one of our Wednesday regulars.  

Volunteer of the Month: Kevin

kevin bikeLately I have had a number of conversations with our volunteers from the Veteran’s Administration. They are all great folks and worth getting to know.  Today I sat down with Kevin. 

He grew up in San Jose, was a Life Scout, and attended junior college where he went through the EMT certification program while working at Home Depot. At age 27, he joined the Army and became a medic.

During his time in the service he was stationed in Afghanistan in Ghanzi Province and the Andar district among other places. Fortunately he made it out of there in one piece but back in Cali he fell on rough times and wound up homeless for a while. 

He eventually hooked up with the Veterans Administration, which got him into housing, and started on the road to recovery. It was there he met Rebecca and through her was introduced to the shop. 

Kevin has become a regular here, always willing to help out and to share his knowledge with others. He is a long time rider and enthusiast and has a bunch of bikes, including a Specialized Langster track bike. 

When not helping us at the shop he enjoys riding around San Jose and going on the Bike Party rides.  Sometimes, life deals you a few bad hands. Kevin is proof that if you stay in the game the cards can start to run in your favor again.  Glad to have you aboard, brother.